Here is a pain management technique that anyone can use in their pain control efforts to get a better picture of when their discomfort is worst, what causes it and how long their medications are working. This pain graph is easy to make because it uses the 1-10 rating that your doctor or nurse will often ask you. Below is a pain scale used commonly in hospitals and clinics around the country.
0 means you feel no pain and 10 means you have the mst excruciating pain imaginable.
Record your level of discomfort at a specific interval. By doing this you can eventually (after about three to five days) have enough information to chart the changes in your level of soreness and link it to time of day, activities, and medication dosage. This will in turn allow you and your doctor to make more informed and accurate medical decisions regarding possible causes of your pain. This can increase the effectiveness of your treatment regimens. Below is an example of a pain graph that has been marked up to be as informative as possible. This graph was hand drawn using lined paper that can be found at any office supply store. You can record your discomfort level on any time interval you want; I used 1 day (a 24 hour period) for this one. But you could also track how much you hurt by part of the day (morning, afternoon, night). Whatever works for you. Talk to your doctor about this if you are unsure.
As you can probably see from the image above, working in the kitchen seems to create an increase in soreness. Also, in this case the patient appears to have reached equilibrium. In other words she has managed to come to a choice regarding how much pain and how much medication is acceptable. This is the goal of this exercise. It can be seen by how fairly constant the levels of discomfort and doses of medication are in the right half of the graph. This type of analysis is not necessary for you to do. Your doctor should be able to look at your pain graph and draw conclusions for you and recommend changes to your routine and medication regimen.
Below is an example of a data display created in a spreadsheet on a computer. This can make it easier for your doctor to read the graph and even see the actual data points. In this situation two things are evident. Someone noted that too much exercise causes more soreness despite high levels of medication. Also, unlike the hand drawn graph, the patient who’s aches are depicted by this chart probably needs more time to achieve their optimal pain control of between tolerable pain and minimal drug/effects.
I have successfully used this pain graph technique to come to decisions regarding the amount of medication I can take to achieve acceptable pain control. I have also been able to identify activities that either cause more pain or reduce pain (allowing me to reduce my medication doses.)
Feel free to comment on this or contact me privately for more information about this technique. Please note that I am NOT a Medical Doctor, but I have experienced chronic pain for several years and used this technique to help myself. In addition I have a PhD in Psychology with a focus in research (data collection and analysis.)